150,000 buy tickets for virtual Nightwish show
Finnish metal band Nightwish were joined by more than 150,000 fans from 108 countries for their recent virtual concert experience, An Evening With Nightwish in a Virtual World, which streamed on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 May.
Six months in the making, the show – a co-production of promoter Fullsteam Agency, VR studio Zoan and the band’s management company, Till Dawn They Count – follows Fullsteam and Zoan’s previous collaboration with the city of Helsinki, which attracted 1.4 million fans to a free virtual show by rap group JVG last May.
An Evening with Nightwish welcomed fans of Nightwish, Finland’s most successful musical export, to a 3D virtual world designed in partnership with the band, where they could watch the concert while also moving around and interacting with other concertgoers. Tickets for the show were priced between €25 and €109.
According to Fullsteam, that translates to ticket income in the seven figures (more than €1m), equivalent to a “large stadium-sized concert”.
“The key is to understand that we are not trying to replicate a live show here – it is a completely different thing”
“We all knew that there would be a lot of demand for this show, but honestly I was blown away by how great it turned out and how many tickets we sold,” says Fullsteam’s Rauha Kyyrö. “I think there is a huge potential for virtual shows that can be very unique experiences for fans.
“I think the key is to understand that we are not trying to replicate a live show here – it is a completely different thing and has to be designed to be enjoyed at home and on your portable devices. And I personally don’t think anything will ever replace the live experience anyway.”
A 30-person team – half of them Nightwish fans – from technical producer Zoan was responsible for creating the virtual world, which included a virtual tavern, The Islanders’ Arms. Zoan used a combination of high-end technology, such as photorealistic scans, and the latest Unreal game engine to produce the experience.
“It feels amazing to have cracked the code on how to provide virtual live entertainment directly to the fans,” says Zoan CEO Miikka Rosendahl. “This is the beginning of an entire new segment in the music industry.”
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
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700,000+ attend virtual May Day concert in Helsinki
At least 700,000 people – around 13% of the population of Finland – celebrated May Day (1 May) by watching a Fortnite-inspired virtual concert by Finnish rap duo JVG.
JVG, among the biggest hip-hop stars in Finland, were forced to cancel eight arena shows in April due to the impact of the coronavirus. The virtual concert – put together by the band’s promoter, Fullsteam Agency, virtual-reality studio Zoan and the city of Helsinki – was viewed by more than a million people simultaneously at its peak, while a further 225,000 people saw it online over the weekend, for a combined total audience of 1.4m.
“I have always thought that we are in the business of bringing people together, and it feels incredibly comforting to be able to do so in the middle of everything that is going on at the moment,” says Rauha Kyyrö, head promoter at Fullsteam, which has been forced to cancel or postpone over 500 shows this summer, including its festivals Provinssi and Sideways.
“It’s only love that gets you through, but it’s music that makes you move.”
“It feels incredibly comforting to be able to bring people together”
Utilising Zoan’s Burst Live and Virtual Helsinki platforms, the band performed against a green screen, while a virtual stage was set on Senate Square in Helsinki.
Inspired, says Zoan, by “the success of gigs in gaming platform Fortnite” (which also hosted a live performance, by Diplo, at the weekend), concertgoers were able to choose avatars and interact with the artist with different gestures and emojis. According to Google Analytics, the audience used the interaction features over 10m times during the one-hour show.
“The first of May is one of the most prominent public holidays in Finland. People have generations-long traditions of celebrating Vappu [Walpurgis Night] in large groups, outside, in restaurants and with picnics,” explains Jan Vapaavuori, the mayor of Helsinki.
“By combining Helsinki’s collaboration with Fullsteam, Zoan and our tradition for new technology experimentation we were able to create a virtual experience that brought together some of the traditional elements of Vappu to a new virtual reality.”